Sask. Opposition renews calls for operational funding for second-stage shelters

·2 min read
On Friday the Sask. NDP called on the province to provide operational funding to second-stage shelters, apartment-style units with high security made available to women leaving interpersonal violence. (Bonnie Allen/CBC - image credit)
On Friday the Sask. NDP called on the province to provide operational funding to second-stage shelters, apartment-style units with high security made available to women leaving interpersonal violence. (Bonnie Allen/CBC - image credit)

The Saskatchewan Opposition's deputy leader called on the provincial government to provide operational funding for second-stage shelters on Friday.

Second-stage shelters are secure, subsidized apartments where women and children can typically stay for six months to two years.

The shelters are high security facilities, with social workers present to provide counselling for complex issues like trauma, addiction and poverty, and support for the women to become independent.

Two provinces, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, don't give second-stage shelters any operational funding.

Nicole Sarauer, the Saskatchewan NDP's Deputy Leader, rose in question period on Friday morning and called on the government to provide such funding.

She pointed out Saskatchewan has the second-highest rate of killings of women and girls in Canada, with 2020's recorded totals representing 10 per cent of the entire country.

"I hope we don't have to see more situations where people are dying," Sarauer said.

"I don't know how much worse it's going to get, or how much worse it has to get for the Sask Party to take this seriously."

She said operational funding is often crowdsourced by organizations who provide second-stage shelters.

Her calls aren't new or unique to Saskatchewan. Organizations were calling for more, similar funding nationally in 2020.

Crisis shelters exist in Saskatchewan, but abuse victims and shelter workers told CBC News it's unrealistic for them to expect to live safely and independently in the community after short-term stays, which are often just 30 days.

Some provinces — including Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia — have introduced social housing policies that give women fleeing violence priority access to affordable housing units.

In Friday morning's question period, Saskatchewan's Minister of Justice Gord Wyant pointed to Saskatchewan's policy to prioritize access to affordable housing units when Sarauer asked him to commit the operational funding money.

Wyant also pointed to money the province dedicated to interpersonal violence-related issues in this year's budget, with $22.8 million set aside for interpersonal violence issues.

"There's ongoing conversations between my ministry, the ministry of corrections and policing and the ministry of social services [about funding second-stage shelters], it's one that's been talked about," Wyant said on Friday.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting